Last month, Jim Hockinson and Gary Bergland of DAV Chapter 16 (Albert Lea area) traveled to Texas to attend DAV’s Wild Hog Hunt. Despite being greeted by record-setting low temperatures, they still had an incredible experience.
The DAV’s outdoor program provides opportunities for all veterans to enjoy outdoor activities- including those who might not otherwise be able to participate due to mobility issues. It also brings veterans of all different backgrounds together, creating a support system and sense of camaraderie.
And that sense of camaraderie is something both Gary and Jim considered a highlight. “Being with other veterans who have similar experiences, people start to feel comfortable enough to open up and talk about things you might not normally talk about. These trips are a great way to support veterans, both mentally and physically,” said Jim.
These once-in-a-lifetime experiences can be incredibly impactful on veterans’ lives. “A lot of it is mental. These trips give you the chance to take your mind off your struggles and to see life in a different perspective,” said Gary, as he reflected on the importance of the program. “This trip was an experience I will never forget, and I have fantastic memories.”
Both Gary and Jim said that they wish more veterans knew about these trips. Minnesota Veterans Outdoors, in partnership with Minnesota DAV, host multiple trips for veterans every year. Applications are still open for Trolling 4 Troops and the Disabled Veteran Deer Hunt for a limited time, learn more and apply at www.mnvetsoutdoors.org.